The Psychology of the Peacekeeper: Lessons from the Field

The Psychology of the Peacekeeper: Lessons from the Field

The Psychology of the Peacekeeper: Lessons from the Field

The Psychology of the Peacekeeper: Lessons from the Field

Synopsis

In this remarkable volume, a multinational team of scientists catalogues the stressors and benefits for combat-trained soldiers deployed on missions where they are told to hold their fire and assume the role of peacekeeper. Theory and direct research with peacekeepers is incorporated. Missions covered include, but are not limited to, peacekeeping operations in Haiti, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, and Lebanon.

Excerpt

Most of the books written on peacekeeping examine the topic from the perspectives of diplomacy, geopolitics, conflict resolution, or the military. and most books on psychology examine behavior as it can be predicted to exist in a range of settings and environments. But here in The Psychology of the Peacekeeper: Lessons from the Field, Britt and Adler examine some of the specific psychological and sociological aspects of what soldiers face when they serve on peacekeeping missions.

This is certainly a timely topic and a timely book. With 45,000 military peacekeepers and civilian police representing 87 nations serving on 15 un peacekeeping missions as of the summer of 2002, it is an opportune time for those who plan and lead peacekeeping missions to benefit from what psychologists and other social scientists have to offer. What are the challenges peacekeepers face? How can peacekeepers best be prepared to deal with the psychological ambiguities of their unique and complex tasks? Do soldiers easily make the transition from war-fighter to peacekeeper and back? Does peacekeeping duty actually interfere with or enhance war-fighting skills? in the 18 chapters that follow, Britt, Adler, and 23 other contributing authors representing 7 nations examine these questions and for the first time take a systematic view of military peacekeeping from a psychological perspective. They first discuss some of the fundamental problems in conducting psychological research on peacekeeping. They then examine social-psychological issues in peacekeeping and address peacekeeping from the perspectives of industrialorganizational, health, and clinical psychology. They then examine some of the cross-cultural issues that can arise when a peacekeeping force is composed of soldiers from different nations, and they offer recommendations for planners of peacekeeping operations and areas for future research directions.

The 10 years between 1992 and 2002 saw a fundamental change in what the international community was willing to attempt in an effort to bring peace and relief to troubled regions. Most peacekeeping missions prior to 1992 were mounted only with the consent of the parties to the dispute, and it was the role of peacekeepers to monitor an agreed-upon cease-fire. in many cases, the . . .

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